It’s safer to be feared than loved.
At least where I’m concerned.
**** GASPPP!!!!! **** Holyyyyyy SHIT!!! OMG. Ahhh!!! The ending of this book made my heart STOP!!!! I am so freaking glad that the next book is already out because I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS! Gah. This series is putting me through the wringer but I totally love it and I can’t stop reading!!
If you’ve already read the first two books, you’ll naturally have a ton of questions stored up about all the various character and (thankfully) this is a book of answers. There’s a lot of back story mixed in with two present day storylines that together fill in so many blanks. I’m really in awe of how multi-layered this story is. Between that and the incredible writing, it’s really a series that is hard to put down.
The story in this book is split into three interconnected parts: Søren & Kingsley’s past thirty years ago in the Jesuit school they both attended, Søren & Kingsley’s present day activities as they search for the elusive thief that is threatening them, and Nora & Wesley in present day time together down in Kentucky.
I really feel like, even though I’ve liked Søren up until this point, I’ve also been a little wary of him. He’s a sadist — a man who can only be sexually aroused by causing pain or humiliation to his lover. That freaks me out a little. What keeps him a good man is that he has a conscience. Everything he engages in is consensual so he’s not a monster. But it just makes me uncomfortable… That being said, there’s also a lot more to him than just his sexual preferences. And that was what we learned in this book.
This man had given up everything he had to God, except the part of his heart that would always belong to Eleanor. He’s such an enigma. He inspires love from his congregation, respect merely by his nature from anyone who meets him, and abject fear (and awe) from the Underground. But learning about his past really did help me to understand that despite his need for sexual sadism, undearneath that was a very, very good man (as Nora has told us so many times). He’s kind, selfless, and caring. But he’s also like the eye of a storm — borderline lethal and deadly calm. A sadist with a conscience and a good heart.
And we finally get to learn oh-so-much more about Kingsley. This man — King of the Underground, top Dom only below Søren — had a whole other side to him that few people knew about. His tale is honestly rather heartbreaking (even to where it’s at now) — the ultimate unrequited love… almost tragically so.
I loved seeing the way the layers of their histories come together through their shared mutual bond, desires, and close connection at such an early age. Best friends and mortal enemies — the deepest of love mixed with the deepest of hate. It was honestly fascinating to see the two most dominant men of the Underground world show such private vulnerabilities with regards to each other — something they’d kept hidden from those around them. Over thirty years of shared history and yet so many unresolved feelings.
For the first time I began to see Søren in a different light — and appreciate how isolating his way of being was, and the incredible lengths he went through to protect those around him from himself.
Meanwhile, miles away, Nora returns home with Wesley to him home in Kentucky. Sweet, sweet Wesley — so in love with her, and the only man to ever love her without hurting her first. I love them together so much!!!! Everything about them just fills my heart to bursting with FEELS. Even though they’re complete opposites, they just feel so right to me. And the WAY he loves he just breaks my heart. — “When Søren hurts you, I die inside.” — Gah!!!!! I loved they way they were both fumbling around in new waters together even though their situations were vastly different — her, a world-reknown dominatrix who’d never had vanilla sex without kink, and him, a virgin who was saving himself for the woman he loved. They were so cute! Ahhh, her learning to cuddle. *clutches heart* Not going to lie though, I am worried as to whether or not they’ll genuinely be able to make it work. I do worry. Even though I am rooting for them.
Although, I admittedly have warmed up to Søren enough that I am now just a teensy bit torn. But like, what kind of future could he offer her? I feel like he was an integral part of her past… and will probably always be a part of her for the rest of her life… but I also feel like Wesley is her future. Is it horrible of me to kinda want her to end up with Wesley but maybe have him be okay with her going to be with Søren every now and again?? Hehe. Ok. Yeah, maybe that’s too far. *sigh* Maybe after reading three of these books, I’m adopting the whole “no boundaries” outlook of this world a little too much. Don’t judge.
I JUST WANT EVERYONE TO BE HAPPY!!! *flails*
I have to say I’m beyond impressed with the way this author kept these three storylines going at the same time without ever making it confusing and simultaneously making you feel invested in all of them.
This series has the ability to be incredibly intense one moment, then keep you on the edge of your seat with the dangerous tension, then be scandalously kinky, incredibly romantic and tender, and then have you laugh out loud the next. There’s witty banter, deep theology, complex plotlines, and heart-wrenching emotions.
I really have come to love and respect/understand the way there’s just no limitations to the “who” or “how” of the love in this series. It’s just love. Plain and simple. The circumstances and details are irrelevant. Love can happen anywhere and in so many different forms. Only the love itself matters.
This entire series has a kind of storytelling that is one of my favorites where not only is there one big story arc, but each chapter has it’s own smaller, but equally profound arc, such that the last words of each chapter always hold great meaning. They have *ooooomph*, y’know? Meaning. Power. I love it!
So yeah, #TeamSøren people… for the first time in this series, I’m actually starting to feel a little torn. Not that I want her to be with Søren, but I get why she’s so attached to him. I really do. Honestly it was the ‘100 ways’ and ‘spider’ things that made me warm up to him the most. I guess also by seeing his past, it’s a little easier for me to separate his sadism from who he is as a person. But it just really does bother me that he cannot get aroused without causing pain to his lover. I’m sorry, but as good a man as he is, that bothers me. So, I’m #TeamSøren in the sense that I like his character and I want him to be happy…. but if I had to pick Nora’s HEA, I’m #TeamWesley. I just love the way he loves her. So much. *sniff*
For new readers, please note that this is an erotic series, but it’s not a romance even though there is very deep, strong, and true LOVE within the story. Overall, it’s very boundary pushing and non-traditional, so it might not be the series for everyone (it took me years to work up to reading them), but I would suggest giving them a try because even though they’re almost the complete opposite of what I normally would think I’d want to read, I am totally LOVING this series! Loving it!
Oh, and that ending??? HUGE REVEAL!!!! Huuuuuuuuge!!!!
On to the next book!! 😀
Rating: 4.5 stars. Contemporary erotica.
*** SERIES READING ORDER ***
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*** FAVORITE QUOTES ***
Note: I “hid” these in a spoiler tag but they’re not really spoilers. I only hid them because there are a lot and I thought it would be annoying to just have them out there. It would be best if you read the first two books first I think, but there’s nothing in here that’s overly revealing. It’s about as safe as quotes from a third book in a series can be. Take a look if you want 🙂